Trying For A Baby Can Be Very Trying Indeed

16/09/2016 11:51

Before we get too deep into the morning sickness part of my wife's pregnancy, sanitised by the self-help books as the First Trimester, I feel I should touch on what got us into this mess in the first place.

I don't mean the biology of it, if you're able to turn on a laptop or computer you'll most likely be aware of how babies are conceived by now (although every time I stumble upon The Jeremy Kyle Show on a weekday morning I do wonder if we're all entirely aware of the steps you can take to prevent them from being so). Decorum will also prevent me from going into too many details.

However, I do feel that (unsuspecting) men should be given some kind of warning as to what lies ahead because impregnation as taught to me in my sex education lessons as a ten-year-old and the experience of "trying" for a baby were too wildly different things.

Even before my wife was out of her wedding dress, people were asking us when we were going to have children.

As a man this brings an odd type of pressure as the ticking of time can begin to make you feel like a failure. If you're a newlywed couple people will just assume that you are trying for a baby even if you aren't and, as each month goes by, the question will become more pointed.

But peer pressure is as nothing as to the weight of expectation you'll be faced with from within your own home.

If you have a partner who wants a baby prepare to enter a hedonistic hell of lacy negligees, scented candles and ovulation strips lined up on the bathroom windowsill. The former have the effect of getting you in the mood in the early days of trying as your wife or partner enters ovulation (this will largely be guess work to begin with). She'll want you like never before, to the point where you don't feel entirely safe making alternative plans for the evening for fear of the reaction it may illicit.

These can range from being branded "selfish" for wanting to finish off series four box set of Breaking Bad to receiving a phone call at work from my mother-in-law to tell me I should cancel a sporting trip that clashed with a weekend where the wind was due to be blowing favourably in our direction.

Hold out long enough and she may do that thing you like that she's never been entirely comfortable with previously. Take my advice and take this opportunity to chance your arm because she'll do anything to put you in the mood to get her pregnant.

But attempting to turn you on only lasts the first couple of months and then pragmatism takes over.

That's when the strips come into their own, left in your eyeline as you brush your teeth before bedtime to serve as an unsubtle reminder, threat even, that you better well be up for it when you return to the bedroom.

It's no longer about making love, it's about making a baby.

During this period I grew accustomed to coming home from work like Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther films. Instead of his Chinese manservant Cato ready to jump out of the fridge to test his boss' reflexes it was my wife brandishing a positive ovulation strip.

And no sooner were we finished doing the deed than she'd roll over, grab her mobile phone and update her app. This app correlated information about her ovulation, now being measured to Nth degree, with the amount of times we'd had sex to come up with a percentage score of probability that she would be pregnant. Even a stallion freshly let off the reins at a stud farm could only achieve a score of 18% on this app (that's the highest it would go to) so after a week of permanently performing to order it did absolutely nothing for your self-worth to be told we had a one in 10 chance of being successful.

I wasn't great at paying attention at school but at no point did my Year 5 teacher mention the probability that ovulation charts have a direct link to erectile dysfunction in pressurised husbands. This I would have remembered.

Having finally hit the jackpot (and when I say "finally" it was only after eight months of trying but the previous seven months were made to feel like a lifetime of failure) we were visited by a midwife. She asked us a few questions about how we'd fallen pregnant and left a copy of the notes with us.

I gave them a perusal and saw that under "conception" she'd written "spontaneous". Ever since my wife fell pregnant it has been hard to wipe the smile off my face but that certainly widened it further.

What with the lingerie, the ovulation strips, line graphs and calendar adjustments, it was the least "spontaneous" act I've ever been involved in.